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Texas Tech Softball 2012 Season Review
 


The Red Raiders closed the 2012 season with a 41-17 overall record.

June 13, 2012

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LUBBOCK, Texas - The 2012 Texas Tech softball season saw the Red Raiders advance to the postseason for the third-straight year and reach the 40-win mark for the second-consecutive time under Shanon Hays, continuing a run of success under the third-year head coach.

TEXAS TECH ADVANCES TO POSTSEASON FOR THIRD-STRAIGHT YEAR UNDER HAYS
After inheriting a program in 2010 that had not seen the postseason in eight seasons, Shanon Hays has completed quite a turnaround in Lubbock. The third-year head coach led the Red Raiders to their third-straight postseason appearance and the fifth in school history this season as Tech finished the year 41-17 overall after falling in the NCAA Washington Regional to the host Huskies and Harvard. The Red Raiders have posted at least 40 wins in each the last two seasons under Hays while Tech's 13-10 mark in Big 12 play this year marked the program's first winning conference record since 2001. Hays is the only coach in school history to lead Tech to multiple postseason appearances as the only trips to the postseason before his arrival came during the 1999 and 2001 seasons.

RED RAIDERS RECEIVE VOTES IN FINAL TOP 25 POLLS
Texas Tech was recognized at the end of the season for the third-straight year as the Red Raiders received votes in both of the major collegiate softball polls. Behind the program's second-straight 40-win season, the Red Raiders picked up 35 votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll to finish just four votes shy of the top 25 spots in 26th place. Tech received 16 votes in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) rankings to finish tied for 28th with Northwestern. The Red Raiders had been previously ranked as high as No. 21 prior to the NCAA Washington Regional. This is the third-straight year and fifth time in school history that the Red Raiders have ended a season receiving votes in one of the two major polls. Tech finished with its highest ranking to complete a season since the 1998 and 1999 campaigns when the Red Raiders were No. 24 overall.

TALLEY, CUSTER KEEP TECH IN WASHINGTON REGIONAL
With the Tech bats struggling, Brittany Talley and Cara Custer kept the Red Raiders within reach at the Washington Regional as the duo combined to lead the pitching staff to a 1.75 earned-run average. Tech surrendered just five earned runs over 20 innings as the Red Raiders took a 6-1 victory over Maryland before suffering back-to-back 2-0 losses to Washington and Harvard. The three outings would have normally been enough to push Tech to a victory, but after more than a week off, the Red Raider bats were stymied throughout the final day. The performance lowered Tech's season ERA to 2.59, the program's second-lowest total since the 2001 season.

RED RAIDERS SAY GOODBYE TO EIGHT SENIORS
When the Red Raiders' season came to an end in Seattle, it closed the storied careers of Tech's eight-member senior class. A mixture of four-year letterwinners and junior-college transfers, the group has led Tech to more success than any class in school history as the Red Raiders compiled an 83-33 record over the past two seasons en route to back-to-back postseason trips. Six of the seniors were also on the squad in 2010 when Tech broke an eight-year absence from the postseason. Due to the success on the field, most of the senior class can be found in the top 10 of several of Tech's single-season and career records.

MIDDLE OF THE LINEUP, PITCHING ROTATION TO RETURN IN 2013
Despite losing a school-record eight seniors due to graduation, Tech will still return the middle of its lineup and its top two pitchers in 2013 as Mikey Kenney, Sandy James, and Adriana Perez will all be seniors while Brittany Talley and Cara Custer will have another year of experience as a junior and sophomore, respectively. Kenney, James, and Perez accounted for 39 of Tech's school record 66 home runs this season and nearly half the team's total RBI while recording the squad's three highest averages. Talley and Custer, meanwhile, combined to go 37-16 in the circle while totaling 340.1 of Tech's 387 total innings pitched. Tech is expected to return up to 13 letterwinners from this season to go along with 11 newcomers that have all signed with the university.

HAYS ON PACE TO BECOME WINNINGEST ALL-TIME COACH IN 2013
With the amount of success Tech has achieved in his three seasons, Shanon Hays will look to add another accomplishment to his resume in 2013 as he trails Renee Luers-Gillepie by only 17 victories to become the winningest coach in school history. Gillespie, now the head coach at Central Florida, helped resurrect a Tech program in 1996 and led the Red Raiders to their first-ever postseason appearance just four seasons later before ending her tenure with a 138-159-1 record over five years. Hays, meanwhile, has gone 121-51 in just three seasons en route to becoming just the first coach to lead Tech to multiple postseason selections.

TECH WRAPS ANOTHER PRODUCTIVE YEAR IN THE FIELD
While Tech may be known for boasting one of the country's top offenses each year, it was boosted this season by a .973 fielding percentage that ranked 21st in the country. The Red Raiders were among the top 10 midway through the season en route to setting a new school record in the category, breaking the previous mark of .966 from 1996. Tech did not commit an error throughout the Washington Regional and went error-free in 28 games on the year.

RED RAIDERS FINISH FIFTH IN BIG 12 CONFERENCE STANDINGS
After recording just 12 wins total during Big 12 play over the last two years, Tech took a step up to league action this year as its 13-10 mark marked the program's first winning conference record since 2001. The Red Raiders had reached 10 conference wins only twice prior to this season thanks to a 10-7 mark in 1998 and a 10-8 record in 2001. Tech's fifth-place finish in the conference standings marks its highest finish since tying for third during that 2001 season. It was also the third time in school history where the Red Raiders had finished among the top-five schools. The Red Raiders were projected to finish seventh in the Big 12 preseason poll that was voted on by the conference coaches.

BLEDSOE ENDS CAREER AMONG TECH ALL-TIME GREATS
Emily Bledsoe became a staple at third base during her four seasons in scarlet and black as she helped rewrite the record book while leading Tech to three-straight postseason appearances. The Fulshear, Texas native ended her career among the top players in school history in every offensive category as she is the all-time leader in doubles, walks, and RBI (tied with Paula Workman). Bledsoe, who played and started in all 229 games since stepping foot on campus, also ranks second for runs scored, third for hits and triples, fourth for batting average and stolen bases, sixth for total at-bats, and seventh for home runs. She also climbed into the top 10 in Big 12 history as her 48 total doubles are tied for ninth all-time among conference players.

KENNEY LEADS FOUR SELECTIONS TO ALL-BIG 12 TEAMS
Mikey Kenney led a group of four selections to the All-Big 12 teams as the junior was honored on the first team in a vote by the conference coaches. It was the first time a Tech player had been first-team recipient since Ashley Parker in 2007. She was joined by three second-team selections in Emily Bledsoe, Sandy James, and Adriana Perez. It was the first career postseason accolade for Perez, while Bledsoe and James were selected for the third and second-consecutive seasons. Tech's four total selections marked the program's most since 2004 when four Red Raiders were also honored.

PEREZ NAMED A FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICAN BY COLLEGE SPORTS MADNESS
Adriana Perez kept the postseason honors rolling in as she was named a first-team All-American by the website College Sports Madness. Perez, who was also named the Field Player of the Year by the website, is the first Tech player to be recognized as an All-American since Amanda Renfro was a second-team pick by the NCAA in 2001. The junior was also named to the All-Big 12 first team with teammates Logan Hall and Mikey Kenney earning a selection to the second team.

GENTSCH NAMED AN ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN FOR SECOND-STRAIGHT YEAR
Holley Gentsch earned her second career selection to a Capital One Academic All-America squad following the season as the junior was honored on the third team. Gentsch, who was a second-team selection in 2011, ends her playing career as one of the most successful Tech student-athletes in the classroom. She joins Paula Workman, who was honored on the third team in both 1998 and 1999, as the only other Academic All-American in program history.

RED RAIDERS PLACE NINE TO ACADEMIC ALL-BIG 12 TEAMS
Texas Tech led all Big 12 schools with nine selections to the Academic All-Big 12 teams that were announced following the regular season. Holley Gentsch, Ashley Hamada, and Taylor Powell led the way as the three players were among the six conference student-athletes recognized with perfect 4.00 grade-point averages. Cydney Allen, Logan Hall, Sandy James, Mikey Kenney, and Raven Richardson joined the group on the first team while Meredith Heath was Tech's lone selection to the second team.

RED RAIDER SIGNEES IMPRESS AT NATIONAL LEVEL
Despite losing eight seniors, Tech is set to bring in several of the country's top players as part of its 11-member recruiting class that will arrive on campus this August. Tech's two junior college transfers - Olive Naotala and Shelby Johnson - were both honored following their seasons as NJCAA Division I first team All-Americans by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. This was the second first team All-America accolade for both Naotala (Howard College) and Johnson (Chattanooga State) this year as they were previously honored by the NJCAA. Naotala was also named a first team All-American by the NFCA a year ago, while Johnson picked up the award for the first time.

TECH SNAPS SINGLE-SEASON HOME RUN RECORD
The Red Raiders' three home runs against Baylor in late April pushed Tech to 60 on the year, snapping last year's single-season school record of 58. Tech went on to add four more long balls during the Oklahoma State series to push its total to 66 before being held without any home runs at the Washington Regional. The Red Raiders ended the regular season ranked 17th in the country in home runs per game and third in the Big 12, trailing only the 98 bombs that Oklahoma recorded and the 77 from Texas A&M. Tech needed just one more home run to enter the top 10 in Big 12 single-season history heading into the regional. The Red Raiders have totaled 163 home runs over Shanon Hays' three seasons, more than twice the amount from the three seasons prior to his arrival in 2010.

CUSTER BECOMES MOST SUCCESSFUL TECH FRESHMAN PITCHER SINCE RENFRO
Despite being in only her first collegiate season, Cara Custer achieved as much success as any other Tech pitcher in the last decade. The freshman, who finished 25-11 on the year, is only the second Tech pitcher in school history to reach the 20-win mark in a single season, joining the great Amanda Renfro who accomplished the feat three times from 1998-2001. Renfro is the only Tech player to have a number retired after she totaled 93 wins from 1998-2001, leading Tech to two postseason appearances during that span as well. Custer closed the year in sole possession of second in the Tech single-season record book, nine wins shy of Renfro's 2001 school record. She passed Renfro's 1998 freshman mark of 23 wins earlier in the season after a picking up a pair of victories against Baylor. Custer finished the season ranked four in the Big 12 for wins, trailing Oklahoma's Keilani Ricketts (36), Texas A&M's Mel Dumezich (28), and Missouri's Chelsea Thomas (25).

PEREZ FINISHES JUST ONE LONG BALL SHY OF JAMES' RECORD
Adriana Perez completed her first season in scarlet and black just one more home run shy of matching Sandy James' single-season school record from a year ago after the junior connected on 15 of the year. Perez' final home run of the year came on a two-out grand slam April 21 against Baylor that tied her for second all-time with Mikey Kenney (2010) and Kim Martinez (1997). Perez had 55 RBI on the year as well, which tied for third in the single-season record book. The California native closed the season ranked among the Big 12 leaders in home runs, RBI, total bases, and slugging percentage.

HALL ENDS SEASON AS BIG 12 DOUBLES LEADER
Logan Hall finished the season as the Big 12 doubles leader as the senior totaled 17 on the year, two more than Nadia Taylor of Texas. Hall had seven doubles during Big 12 play alone and then one during the Washington Regional, moving her career total to 44 over three seasons. Hall currently ranks second all-time in school history for doubles behind teammate Emily Bledsoe who had 48 over her career. Following a relatively slow start to the season, Hall closed the year hitting .276 on the year with 24 runs scored and 16 RBI. She also added a home run and was 7-for-8 on stolen base attempts.


 

 

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